On Easter Monday, we escaped the bad weather in Vienna and headed to Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland to visit Schloss Esterházy (less than 1 hour drive). With our Niederösterreich Card in hand, we knew we’d save some money and ended up not having to pay admission to see the Haydn exhibit in the castle (7 Euros). It turns out that the composer, Joseph Haydn, was born in Eisenstadt and the lead musician at the Castle until his death (things you learn in museums!) – the museum is small but quite interactive with many videos (one on the ceiling, great entertainment for kids) – and while there are no signs, please note that there is no photography allowed inside (don’t ask how I know!).
After a stroll around the castle, we walked down the pedestrian zone, past the Rathaus (city hall), and ended up having lunch at Haydn Bräu, a great brewery with tasty Austrian food and beer ( they have great lunch specials)!
Since yesterday was the first day, we could use our Niederösterreich Card, we researched other nearby attractions beforehand, and drove to the city of Forchtenstein following lunch (about 20 minutes away). There, we headed up the mountain towards the castle there (Schloss Forchtenstein) because directly across the entrance was another attraction we wanted to visit – the Reptile Zoo! With our handy little savings card, we saved the 12.50 Euro admission price and got to peek at a few hundred snakes and other reptiles. We initially went there because our son is obsessed with snakes but we soon learned that he much preferred the “normal” stuffed snakes and perhaps one or two real ones to the hundreds displayed there. Nevertheless, if you are into real life reptiles and snakes, this zoo is well worth a visit with an impressive collection of critters.
For more information:
- visit the Schloss Esterhazy website
- check out the Haydn Bräu brewery (German)
- visit the Schloss Forchtenstein website
- check out the Reptile Zoo website (German)